Student Spotlight: Jim Wengerd
Jim Wengerd really enjoys getting his hands dirty.
“My interest in gardening started with the landscape of our home,” he said. ‘My wife, Anne, was really into it so I got involved, first our back yard and later our front yard. Got rid of about half of the lawn and planted perennials and grasses. Over time, the gardens kept changing as we found different plants we wanted to incorporate. It is relaxing and gratifying to see the results of your efforts.”
Wengerd had worked in the insurance and financial business for 25 years but was stressed out and needed a change. At the suggestion of one of his children, he enrolled at College of DuPage in “Introduction to Horticulture.” He was 56.
“I really fell in love with it,” he said. “I think a lot of it had to do with the other students and faculty.”
The next year, at the age of 57, Wengerd quit his job and took a new one within the garden center/nursery/landscaping industry. He also continued taking classes, and after several years he earned an Associate in Applied Science degree in Ornamental Horticulture.
Wengerd continued working in the horticulture industry for more than 20 years until he retired. During this time, he and his wife became avid supporters of the McAninch Arts Center and averaged seeing eight to 10 shows a year.
Overall, Wengerd considers his time spent at College of DuPage as a wonderful experience.
“Anyone interested in garden/landscaping/nursery business, or even learning more for their own pleasure, should look into COD,” he said. “The programs are comprehensive and the instruction great. Some of the happiest times of my life were those spent with the instructors and students at COD.
“For families looking at college costs, COD is a good deal. Living at home for a couple of years and attending COD instead of college campuses away from home is certainly a lot more economical. Two of my children got their early college years completed at COD and went on to finish their teaching and master degrees elsewhere.
“College of DuPage is a wonderful asset to our community and most people don’t even realize its education, entertainment and cultural value.”
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